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1. At its 2nd plenary meeting, on 5 February 1997, the Governing Council commenced the high-level segment of the session and heard statements by ministers of environment and their representatives, as well as by other specially invited speakers.

2. The high﷓level segment was opened on 5 February 1997 by Mr. George Saitoti, Vice﷓President and Minister of Planning and National Development of Kenya. The meeting was then addressed by Mr. Ismail Razali, President of the United Nations General Assembly and Permanent Representative of Malaysia to the United Nations; Mr. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General, Department of Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development who spoke on behalf of Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations; and the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell. The text of the Executive Director's statement was subsequently circulated under the symbol UNEP/GC.19/29/Add.2.

3. In addition, the Council heard an address at the opening session of the high﷓level segment by Mr. Maurice Njoroge, representing the Mathare Youth Sports Association (MYSA) in Nairobi, who spoke on behalf of the youth of the world.

4. At the opening session of the high﷓level segment, the Council also heard statements from Mr. Arnold José Gabaldón, President of the Governing Council; Mr. German García﷓Duran, Permanent Representative of Colombia to the United Nations Environment Programme, who spoke on behalf of the Group of 77 and China; Ms. M. De Boer, Minister of Housing, Physical Planning and the Environment, the Netherlands, who spoke on behalf of the European Union; and Mr. Hadi Manaji, Vice﷓President and Director of the Environment Department, Islamic Republic of Iran.

5. At the 3rd meeting of plenary, 2nd session of the high﷓level segment, the Council heard statements by Mr. Jai Narain Prasad Nishad, Minister of State, India; Ms. Angela Merkel, Minister of the Environment, Germany; Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Administrator, National Environmental Protection Agency, China; Mr. Stanislaw Zelichowski, Minister for Environmental Protection, Natural Resources and Forestry, Poland; Mr. Svend Auken, Minister for Environment and Energy, Denmark; Ms. Eileen Claussen, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Department of State, United States of America; Ms. Julia Carabias, Secretary of Environment, Natural Resources and Fisheries, Mexico; Mr. Ahmed Noui, Secretary of State in charge of Environment, Algeria; Ms. Maria Julia Alsogaray, Secretary of State of Natural Resources and Sustainable Development, Argentina; Mr. Ahmad Bin Mubarak Shamas, Under﷓Secretary for Environmental Affairs, Oman; Mr. Takao Ohnishi, Vice﷓Minister of Environment, Japan; Mr. Aleksei F. Poryadin, First Deputy Chairman, State Committee for Environmental Protection, Russian Federation; Mr. Seo﷓Sung Yoon, Vice﷓Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea; Mr. Thorbjorn Berntson, Minister of Environment, Norway; Mr. Brendan Howlin, Minister for the Environment, Ireland; Mr. Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, State Minister of Environment, Indonesia; Mr. John Fraser, Ambassador for the Environment, Canada; Mr. Matia Baguma﷓Isoke, Minister of State for Natural Resources, Uganda; Mr. Bo Kjellen, Ambassador, Ministry of Environment, Sweden; Mr. Alex Sulc, Deputy Minister for the Environment, Czech Republic; Mr. Philippe Roche, Secretary of State, Federal Office of the Environment, Forests and Landscape, Switzerland; Mr. Howard Bamsey, Ambassador for the Environment, Australia; and Mr. Ion Oltean, Minister of Water, Forestry and Environmental Protection, Romania.

6. At the 4th meeting of the plenary, 3rd session of the high﷓level segment, the Council was addressed by two special guests: Mr. David McDowell, Director General, World Conservation Union (IUCN); and Mr. Nitin Desai, Under Secretary-General, Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development. The Council then heard statements by: Mr. Zlocha Jozef, Minister of Environment, Slovakia; Ms. Katalia Szili, State Secretary of Political Affairs, Ministry of Environment, Hungary; Mr. Chu Tuan Nha, Vice Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Viet Nam; Mr. Jan Peeters, Secretary of State for Security, Social Integration and Environment, Belgium; Mr. Henrique Cavalcanti, former Minister of Environment, on behalf of the Minister of the Environment, Brazil; Mr. Saleh Al Shara, Director General for the Environment Protection Corporation, Jordan; Mr. Rajesh Bhagwan, Minister of Environment and Quality of Life, Mauritius; Mr. A. H. El Munajed, Minister for Environmental Affairs, Syrian Arab Republic, Ms. L. Schilling, Chargé d'Affaires, Venezuela, Mr. Victor Ramoz, Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippines; Mr. Valerio Calzolaio, Deputy Minister for the Environment, Italy, Mr. C. C. Chimutengwende, Minister of Environment and Tourism, Zimbabwe, Ms. Isabel Tocino, Minister of Environment, Spain; Mr. Ziyattin Tokar, Minister of Environment, Turkey; Mr. Sahidou Dango-Nadey, Minister of Environment, Housing and Urban Development, Benin; Mr. Prakash M. Singh, Minister, Ministry of Population and Environment, Nepal; Mr. Henry K. Kosgey, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya;

7. At the 5th meeting of the plenary, 3rd session of the high-level segment, statements were made by: Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Minister for Environment, Local Government and Rural Development, Pakistan; Mr. Nizar Ibrahim Tawfik, Vice-President, Meteorology and Environmental Protection Administration, Saudi Arabia; Mr. Ricardo Sanchez Sosa, Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Environment, Cuba; Mr. John S. Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; Mr. Glen Lindholm, Permanent Representative of Finland to UNEP; Mr. Mohammad Al-Sarawi, Director General of the Environment Public Authority, Kuwait; Mr. Abdul Jabar A. Ridha, Director General of Preventive Health and Environment, Iraq; Mr. Mohamed Tahir Ela, Minister for Environment and Tourism, Sudan; Mr. German García-Duran, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNEP, Colombia, Mr. Magnus Johannesson, Secretary﷓General, Ministry for the Environment, Iceland; Mr. Emilio Ruiz﷓Tagle, Director of Special Policies, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile and Mr. U Ohn Gyaw, Chairman of the National Commission of Environmental Affairs of Myanmar. A statement was also made by Mr. Ian Johnson, Assistant Chief Executive Officer, Global Environment Facility (GEF).